Tag Archives: laws

Pitbull free to roam: the flip side of the Chile’s street dog issue

Quiltros, mutts, and street dogs… we’ve talked about them a lot here at Cachando Chile, and while many people have expressed their opinions, one topic that has not been an issue is that of street dogs being vicious.

A Cachando Chile reader who has asked to remain anonymous sent this story about an experience he had with canine bureaucracy and lack of efficacy in enforcing the few laws that do exist with respect to pet ownership and responsibility, not to mention common decency and the ethics of being a good neighbor.

To be clear, this is not an issue of quiltros, strays, or street dogs, which seldom seem to be aggressive. To be sure there presents the issue of certain breeds that are known to be easily provoked to violence and whether or not they should be allowed in a residential neighborhood, but in the end, this is absolutely a case of a dog with an irresponsible owner.

I have a lab and walk him everyday. No one else in the neighborhood seems to walk their dogs, so some dogs get a bit huffy when my dog cruises by each day. Lots of dogs are out or get out as cars drive in and some days there are some gafuffles. One day a pit bull got loose and, with the owner standing by, it attacked my dog, leaving three wounds needing stitching. I complain then and again the next day when the owner comes by and tries to make nice. I tell him to B off and I want the vet bill paid. I never heard back.

Second attack happens two months later and only two wounds needed stitching but there was a lot more blood. Owner apologizes, refuses to pay up (now 150,000 between two attacks), and insists he was just robbed and needs the dog for protection. It doesn’t seem to me the dog serves much to protect him, and it has endangered the neighborhood twice now.

The parking attendant tells me the next day that the dog gets out every second day, and I am lucky I have only had trouble twice in various months of walks. The dog killed a poodle and attacked an elderly lady the year before. These pit bull dogs are cruise missiles on pattern from when they see the other dog’s neck until they grab on til death do they part. I tried a kids’ baseball bat applied to the dog’s gonads amongst other things and all to no effect.

The police tell me they will speak to the neighbor and that I have no rights without being able to show the animal escaped. One cop tells me to trap the dog outside his domain if the owner is not about the next time this happens.

The third attack happens almost in front of my home. I carry newspaper to burn (even tigers don’t like fire a neighbor has told me). No dice, the dog is too quick. Somehow high on adrenalin watching my dog dying for the third time, I grab the pit bull by the collar and throw him inside my home’s side garden and slam the gate. Now I have only to call the police to come and get him. No dice. They chuckle and say to take the dog back because the killing machine living in my children’s neighborhood is not my ‘property’. I asked the policeman’s badge number and am not given it.

The next day, with the dog trapped in my garden, I call the mayor’s office and e-mail all of my local politicians. No dice, no one wants to be an animal hater. I go to see the owner without the dog. The owner, a neighbor tells me, has gone to the beach for the week—ie., with his pit bull in the street, he left for a week. Neighbor confirms that he was worried but couldn’t miss the beach.

After no answer from the mayor I call and call the municipality until someone comes to inspect. They tell me they can solve the problem, but I have to take the dog to their trash collecting facility. I say no. The press arrives. After I tell the press to go away, I ask the municipality once more to solve the problem and take the carcass with them. And they did. And I am grateful to them for assuming with me the responsibility of solving a problem that needed solving.

I am sad for the dog who was taken into the home of someone so irresponsible, but my children are not going to be the poster children for a decent law about dangerous guard dogs. Full Stop.

Again. This is not a quiltro (mixed breed dog). This is not a street dog. This is not an abandoned dog (although we could argue that is it  neglected). Take a look at the comments that developed after the announcement of the Bicentennial Chile Dog winner, especially the one Marmo left on January 13 with these important links:

Conciencia Animal on Laws

and Chilean Senate news on the the Responsibilities of Pet Owners

And of course, check out the other Cachando Chile pieces on the subject, then come back and give us YOUR two cents’ worth. Got ideas on how to fix this problem?

See other dog-related posts on Cachando Chile:

Santiago de Chile Part II: Of Dogs and Men... (February 7, 2011)

Bicentennial Chile Dog: And we have a Winner! (January 8, 2010)

Lost Dogs: Quiltros  & Hero Dogs (November 25, 2009)

In Search of the Bicentennial Chile Dog (October 30, 2009)

Chile: It’s a Dog’s World (April 14, 2009)

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The Art of Artful Dodging: Avoiding Traffic Tickets in Chile

Carabinero-motoThe Chilean police—carabineros—are famous for being resistant to bribery. Forget everything you’ve ever heard about dealing with Latin American officials when you come to Chile. Don’t even THINK about offering them money; that’s a sure recipe for doom and a much closer look at the inner workings of a police station than you were bargaining for. But that doesn’t mean that carabineros always play it by the book. There are ways of getting out of that ticket looming large. I’ve heard plenty of stories about being let go…

Here are a few of my favorites:

Female Approach #1: Beautiful & Helpless
A very pretty young Chilean friend, a stunning model with no drivers’ license and little knowledge of driving, was, nonetheless, behind the wheel. She made an illegal left turn, entered the wrong way down a 1-way street, and was trying unsuccessfully to park in a no-parking zone when the local man-in-green asked her to step out of her car.

She’s a goner, right? No pu (which is Chilean for “nope”). Pretty and quick-witted, she flashes a big smile and puts on her very best gringa accent and says, “um… No…um… No sah-bair… estash-o-nahr…” (something that roughly resembles “no… to know…to park”), and throws in another big “I’m helpless” smile for good measure. He melted. Big bad meanie attitude out the window; Knight in Shining Armor to the rescue. Not only did she NOT get a ticket, but he actually stopped traffic and helped her back out and be on her way!

Now, would this work with a real gringa? Somehow I doubt it!

Female Approach #2: Turn on the Tears
In a word, cry. This seems to be the most common approach. Most of the women I know under 30 swear that this works every time. Most seem to discover this by accident the first time they get stopped and when they are really very scared and upset, “and I don’t have any money and my father’s going to kill me and I’ll never do it again, oh whatamIgonnadoooo boohoohoohoo…? Sob, sob, sob, look for tissues…sob, sob, sniff… Apparently it gets them every time, at least with the under-30s.

I can’t imagine cops anywhere falling for this kind of tactic from a man, who according to the universal rules of machismo, cannot cry or whine. And if they are even slightly intelligent, they should certainly know better than to show any sign of excess testosterone either. It’s man-to-man and one’s got the upper hand… and that hand’s holding a book of tickets. But still, there are ways…

Male Approach #1: The Absent-Minded Professor
Despite being stopped (and deservedly so) many more times than anyone could count, my husband has only received one ticket in his life… and that event is a story in itself, but I’ll save that for another day. He has an amazing ability to talk his way out of just about anything, usually without even realizing that that’s what he’s doing. He’s even had carabineros apologize for offending him, but that’s a tale that only he can tell…You see, he’s charming, intelligent, very polite… and extremely absent minded. Just the other day he was on the highway with his elderly mother in the car. It was about 4 pm when he got pulled over. The interaction went something like this:

“Your license and registration please.”

He pulls out all the papers he’s ever had related to the car and shuffles through them until the cop (or paco, in Chile), in desperation, points to what he wants. His papers are indeed in order and he knew he wasn’t speeding.

“Why don’t you have your lights on?”

He leans his head out of the window and looks up into the clear blue sky with a puzzled look on his face—completely oblivious to the law that has been in place for about 2 years that says that headlights must be on at all times while driving on the highway.

“But I’m just taking my mother on an errand…” (like that has anything to do with anything). She smiles (no tears, but now that I think of it, that would probably have worked very well too).

“You need to use your headlights on the highway.”

“Really? But I was just taking my mother…”

Realizing that my husband is a pretty harmless kinda guy, and perhaps confounded by what logic could possibly lie behind this clearly futile and seemingly endless loop of circular conversation, the paco shed mercy…

“Ok, don’t worry. You can go.”

“Thank you sir…” and puts the car in gear and starts to go. The carabinero stops him again…

“Turn your lights on… NOW!”

Oops! Red faced, lights on, and on his way…

Male Approach #1: Have a Charming Kid
Another friend, let’s call him Pedro, got stopped and knew he was doomed…went through that stop sign just a little too fast before he saw those ominous red lights atop the green and white car. His 3-year-old daughter sat in the back seat singing quietly to herself as he and the carabinero go through the required steps: the document checking, the accusation, the “Really? I didn’t see it” routine that they both know is expected but going nowhere, when suddenly the carabinero hears what the little one is singing… the Carabinero National Hymn!

The carabinero couldn’t believe his ears, and Pedro couldn’t believe his luck! It’s hard to tell who was most pleased.

You’ve got a nice little girl there mister. You have a nice day and be more careful next time.”

It turns out that the carabineros had recently visited her daycare center and taught them the song. She saw the uniform, made the association, and very innocently started on what well may be a long career of convincing carabineros to look kindly on wayward drivers.